Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pakistan-The Face Of Terrorism At Its Extreme

"Terror" comes from a Latin word meaning "to frighten". Terrorism is a policy or ideology of violence intended to intimidate or cause terror for the purpose of "exerting pressure on decision making by state bodies." The term "terror" is largely used to indicate clandestine, low-intensity violence that targets civilians and generates public fear. Thus "terror" is distinct from asymmetric warfare, and violates the concept of a common law of war in which civilian life is regarded. The term "-ism" is used to indicate an ideology —typically one that claims its attacks are in the domain of a "just war" concept, though most condemn such as crimes against humanity.
Pakistan has suffered from the killing of noncombatants by both state and non-state actors with the latter group often based both inside and outside the present-day country. There was massive loss of non-combatant life during partition of British India and creation of Pakistan. Strife between Shia and Sunni Muslims and persecution of Ahmediyyas occurred as early as the 1950s.

Currently however, the biggest threat to the state and citizens of Pakistan emanates killing civilians and policemen to achieve their political ends, origination of which can be attributed to General Zia ul-Haq's controversial "Islamization" policies, the president of the country in the 1980s. His tenure saw Pakistan's exceeding involvement in Soviet-Afghan War, which led to greater influx of ideologically driven Afghan Arabs in the tribal areas and the explosion of kalashnikov and drugs culture. The state and its intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence in alliance with the United States and Central Intelligence Agency encouraged the "mujahideen" to fight the proxy war against the Soviet Union, most of which were never disarmed after the war. Some of these groups were later activated under the behest of the state in the form of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and others were encouraged like Taliban to achieve state's agenda in Kashmir and Afghanistan. The same groups are now taking on the state itself.
From the summer of 2007 to late 2008, more than 1,500 people were killed in suicide and other attacks on civilians. The attacks has been attributed to a number of sources: sectarian violence - mainly between Sunni and Shia Muslims - the origin of which is blamed by some on initiated from 1977 to 1988; the easy availability of guns and explosives of a "kalishnikov culture" and influx of ideologically driven "Afghan Arabs" based in or near Pakistan, originating from and the subsequent war against the Afghan communists in the 1980s which blew back into Pakistan; Islamist insurgent groups and forces such as the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba; Pakistan's thousands of fundamentalist madrassas which are thought by some to provide training for little except jihad; secessionists movements - the most significant of which is the Balochistan liberation movement - blamed on regionalism problematic in a country with Pakistan's diverse cultures, languages, traditions and customs.

CausesTwo of the main causal factors contributing to terrorism in Pakistan are sectarian/religious violence, the active support[weasel words] of the Pakistani state in nurturing terrorist proxies for perceived strategic ends[dubious – discuss][neutrality disputed]. After imposition of Martial Law in 1956 Pakistan's political situation suddenly changed and entered into dictator type of national behaviour at different levels either civil servants, the army (the most involved people), political forces and British Indian Land Lords. They never considered Pakistan as an independent state and they are still thought of as slaves of the British and mistrust of the Musharraf-Bush coalition in the War on Terrorism. Other causes, such as political rivalry and business disputes, also take their toll. It is estimated that more than 4,000 people have died in Pakistan in the past 25 years due to sectarian strife.
Pre-1980The onset of partition of British India, saw massive killing of non-combatants - "Sikhs slaughtering Muslims, Hindus butchering Muslims and Muslims burning Hindus and Sikhs alive" that included a massive migration of local population based on their religion.
Pakistan manifestation of Shia-Sunni antagonisms and antipathies, and the anti-Ahmediya sentiment and persecution by Sunni fundamentalists occurred as early as the 1950s.
In the late 1960s, the agitation in the eastern wing of the country, its struggle with its western counter-part over resources and political power and the eventual liberation changed the dynamics of the country, and led the Pakistani state to "deal harshly with rebels" in East Pakistan. Bangladeshi authorities claim that three million people were killed,. A further eight to ten million people fled the country to seek safety in India.

Aid to Mujahideen and Arab AfghansTerrorism in Pakistan since the 1980s began primarily with to the Soviet-Afghan War, and the subsequent war against Afghan communists that continued for at least a decade. The war brought numerous fighters from all over the world to South Asia in the name of jihad. These fighters, known as mujahideen, carried out insurgent activities inside the country well after the war officially ended.
The sectarian violence plaguing the country presently is also said to originate in the controversial Islamic policies of General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq initiated during his tenure from 1977 to 1988. These policies gave immense power to religious figures in the country, who in turn spread intolerant religious dogmas among the masses.
Post Afghan WarAt the end of the Afghan War, between 1990 and 1996, the Pakistani establishment continued to organize, support and nurture the Mujahideen groups. The idea was to use these groups for proxy warfare in Indian Kashmir and to support the doctrine of "strategic depth" in Afghanistan through the use of the Taliban. The 9/11 attacks brought this strategy of Pakistan under increased international scrutiny.
Role of MadrassasThe presence of many unregulated Madrassas throughout Pakistan is believed to contribute significantly to its terrorism problem. Although the madrassas were created to fill the hole left by the state in educating young people free of charge, some became recruiting centers for terrorists, as most of the financing for the institutions came from terrorist groups and not from the government. There was also a great dearth of well-rounded education in these institutions, as their graduates were only good for Mosque services, and not other fields of life. Thus, social and economic factors played a great role in helping to spread intolerance. The word Taliban itself means "students", with "Talib" (singular) meaning a student.

A small number of these madrassas are supposed to provide military training which give inspiration to European extremists of South Asian descent.The 7 July 2005 London bombings was carried out by people who are believed to have visited a Pakistani madrassa at some time in their life, stoking fears that perhaps certain groups in Pakistan were encouraging violent activity. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf initially acknowledged that some madrassas might be involved in extremism and terrorism. The Pakistani government denied the charges, saying that just because a citizen visits Pakistan once after living and being educated abroad until then, does not mean that the person was encouraged to perform terrorist acts in Pakistan. The government still acted swiftly, requiring all religious schools to register with the government. Also, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's cooperation with the United States' War on Terrorism has led to several assassination attempts on him by those who seek the destruction of Western interests. The president referred to this as terrorism.

Pakistani involvement in the War on Terrorism

State-sponsored terrorismMain article: State-sponsored terrorism#PakistanIntelligence agencies around the world have long suspected Pakistan as a source of extremism and terrorism. It has recently been revealed that Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, a top scientist involved with Pakistan's nuclear program has been selling nuclear technologies to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Khan was tried within Pakistan. It is unclear whether the state has been involved with his dealings. Pakistan has used Islamist militants to fight its wars in Afghanistan and Kashmir.
The Government of Pakistan is accused by India of having supplied monetary aid to certain terrorist organizations fighting for secession in Kashmir. While this has routinely been denied, enough evidence exists about the policy of Pakistan to support terrorist proxies, including admission by senior officers of Pakistan's armed forces. American intelligence sources, mainly the FBI claims that there are "terrorist training camps" in Pakistan and that the terrorists come to Pakistan from all over the globe.In Pakistan, most modernized infrastructure of terrorist training exists, supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in terms of money, ideological training, and moral support. Many other nations and nonpartisan sources also state that Pakistan is one of the perpetrators of state-sponsored terrorism by providing help to Kashmiri and other terrorist outfits with connections to Al-Qaeda. there are many other reasons behind this curse.the most prominent is illiteracy.extremist use their skills to misguide the youth.
Militants groups in Pakistan
Lashkar-e-OmarLashkar-e-Omar (The Army of Omar) is a terrorist organisation which is believed to have its members derived from 3 organizations, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). The main terrorist activities for which it has been accused are:
Attack on a church in Bahawalpur in Punjab on October 28, 2002, resulting in 18 deaths and 9 injuries. The group, was allegedly involved in the March 17, 2002 grenade attack on a church in the heavily guarded diplomatic enclave in Islamabad in which five persons, including a US diplomat's wife and daughter, were killed and 41 others injured. LeO was reportedly involved in the suicide bombing outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi on May 8, 2002 and the June 14 attack on the US consulate in Karachi, in which 10 persons, including five women, were killed and 51 others injured.

Lashkar-e-TaibaPakistan-based terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Toiba, has survived global sanctions and is poised to move into the political realm thereby strengthening the collective religious extremist groups' move to coalesce as a formidable opposition to the re-emergent civil democratic movement in Pakistan. This coalition of extremist and terrorist elements within Pakistan and the broad trajectory of the Taliban-Al Qaeda relationship in Afghanistan threatens the stability of Pakistan and the region, and risks fueling the export of terrorism across the world. See PSRU Brief 12. Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU)
Sipah-e-Sahaba PakistanPreviously known as Anjuman Sipah-e-Sahaba (ASS), this group is thought to be behind most of the attacks on Shiites. It came into prominence following the Iranian Revolution in 1980s. Incidents thought to be caused by this group are as follows:
October 7, 2004 bomb blasts in Multan that killed 40 people; September 21, 2004: Suspected SSP members gunned down at least three members of a Shi'a family in a sectarian attack in Dera Ismail Khan; March 2, 2004 More than 45 people killed and over 100 wounded in an attack on Shi'a Muslims in Quetta; and It has also been involved in assassinating Iranian diplomats with the most severe being the killing of five Iranian Air Force cadets in Rawalpindi in 1997.
War on Terrorism in PakistanMain article: War in North-West PakistanThe post-9/11 War on Terrorism in Pakistan has had two principal elements: the government's battle with jihad groups banned after 9/11, and the U.S. pursuit of Al-Qaeda, usually (but not always) in coordination with Pakistani forces.

In 2004, the Pakistani army launched a pursuit of Al-Qaeda members in the mountainous area of Waziristan on the Afghan border. Clashes there erupted into a low-level conflict with Islamic militants and local tribesmen, sparking the Waziristan War. A short-lived truce known as the Waziristan accord was brokered in September 2006.
In Swat valley, government entered into peace agreement with Taliban in February 2009, while Taliban was defeated in Bajaur.

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